Does your degree matter?

Does your degree matter?

When screenings resumes, we primarily pay attention to previous experience, skills, and education. Recently I was asked if the educational institution matters (i.e. do the prestigious schools sit higher in the hiring manager’s eyes compared to lower ranked universities?). Great question.

In most cases, I’d say the ranking of a school does not particularly matter. I believe there are many other factors that hiring managers consider when looking for talent before the prestigious-ness of a university (yes, I just made that word up). Now – if we’re talking about a degree versus not having a degree, that’s a different story. The candidate with a degree would likely be more favourable and qualified compared to the candidate without a degree (in most cases). However, if two people have a degree it doesn’t necessarily mean the higher ranked education means a better qualified candidate.

The only way I can see this impacting a hiring manager’s decision is under two situations; one is if it comes down to two candidates who have almost identical experience/skills and both are a cultural fit, then perhaps the hiring manager may be inclined to choose the candidate with a more reputable education. The second situation where the degree (and where it’s from) may matter is in a top firm who only accepts candidates from the highest ranked universities (such as a law firm or investment company). However, I’d still argue that diversity is a great thing. It’s in the company’s best interest to hire people with wide variety of educational backgrounds to help bring different ways of thinking to the company.

It’s important to note that we still see exceptional benefits to attending a highly ranked university. For example, top universities can offer many other benefits such as larger networking groups, high profile career fairs, and access to opportunities that small scale universities may not offer. Keep in mind though that relevant work experience usually trumps education, so don’t solely rely on your top tier university to get you the job.

When looking at the sales and marketing industry, it’s not always necessary to hold a university degree to excel in this career. Although a degree is typically preferred, it’s important to note that there are other ways to gain experience to support your application.

No matter what your education qualifications are – be proud, and never stop learning.

Until next time…

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